Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is proud to announce its 2018 Leadership in Diversity and Legislative Champion Awardees.

(COLUMBIA, S.C., June 18, 2018) – The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina will honor PASOs (Leadership in Diversity) and Representative Neal Collins (Legislative Champion) at the 2018 Leadership in Diversity & Legislative Champion Awards Presentation at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina offices.

Established in 2011, the Leadership in Diversity award honors an individual or organization that has played an important role around leadership and diversity, and is willing to take a stand on important issues that affect those with less resources in South Carolina.  PASOs is an organization that embraces diversity and challenges others to recognize the disparities and inequities that exist for underserved populations, particularly on behalf of thousands of Latino immigrants. What began as prenatal education outreach in 2005 in Columbia, has now evolved into a dynamic and thriving statewide organization. They actively engage with Latino communities throughout South Carolina to fill health and early childhood gaps, support families with navigating resources, train community leaders and promote change through advocacy at systemic-levels.

Since early 2010, the Foundation have invested $265,000 in PASOs and see them as a trusted organization in the community. Prior to the creation of the Foundations Immigrant Families Initiative in 2014, it was organizations like PASOs that informed our work, exposing us to not only the needs of the surrounding community, but the many strengths and assets that immigrants bring to the state of South Carolina and ultimately the nation.

“PASOs is a perfect example of an organization that has embraced diversity and challenged others to recognize the disparities and inequalities that exist for underserved populations,” Tom Keith, President of Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, said.

PASOs sets an example as a best practice organization for others to follow. We are grateful for the leadership of Julie Smithwick, Founder and Executive Director, and congratulate her and PASOs as the recipient of the 2018 Leadership in Diversity Award from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina is proud to announce that Representative Neal Collins of Pickens County - House District 5 is the inaugural recipient of the Sisters of Charity Foundation’s 2018 Legislative Champion Award.

As the Foundation seeks to live out its mission to reduce poverty through action, advocacy and leadership, we must address the systemic injustices, policies and procedures that impact the lives of many South Carolinians  living in poverty.

Confronting such a complex issue requires partnership with local leaders, organizations, community stakeholders and legislators. These leaders are typically individuals that give a voice to those who are often overlooked and stand for what’s right no matter the cost. Representative Neal Collins is one of those leaders.

We watched as he led with compassion, actively seeking out Dreamers from across the state to both hear and share their lived experiences. We witnessed his courage when he not only publicly shared his solidarity with Dreamers, but proposed a bill that made DACA youth eligible for in-state tuition and provide an opportunity to receive professional licensing. Although this bill did not pass many still criticized his stance. But in true fashion, he responded with love, kindness and respect knowing that what he did may not have been the popular thing to do, but was the right thing to do.

Representative Collins once stated that, “I am a believer that life is short and that we should live each day to its fullest. I am a believer that one person can make a difference and it's our duty to become involved in the community.”

Because of his leadership and forthright spirit, the Board of Trustees and staff at the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, have identified Representative Neal Collins as the ideal inaugural recipient of the Sisters of Charity Foundation 2018 Legislative Champion Award.

About the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, established in 1996, is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System. The Foundation is committed to addressing the needs of the poor and underserved in all 46 South Carolina counties, and strategically uses resources to reduce poverty through action, advocacy and leadership.